IDEF0 (Integrated Definition for Function Modeling)

Skill level: Advanced


Integrated definition for function modeling (IDEF0) is a method of function modeling for business systems and an engineering approach for needs analysis. IDEF0 technique uses a box to represent functions within a process and shows relationships to child and parent systems. This technique provides a blueprint for understanding an organization’s systems.


  • Provides improved systems analysis
  • Provides improved communication techniques
  • Helps in understanding a system and its relationships

How to Use

  • Step 1.  Create a verb box (for example, “perform inspection”).
  • Step 2.  Determine wanted inputs, outputs, control systems, and support systems.
  • Step 3.  Determine parent systems.
  • Step 4.  Determine child systems.
  • Step 5.  Draw IDEF0 diagram.

Relevant Definitions

Boundary arrow: An arrow where the source end is not connected to a box on a diagram.

Box: A rectangle with the name and number that represents a function.

Box name: The verb or verb phrase inside the box that describes the function.

Call arrow: An arrow that links together models or that links functions inside a model.

Child diagram: The diagram that details a parent box.

Function: The process, transformation, or activity that is identified by the box name.

Internal arrow: An input, control, or output arrow connected at both ends (source and use) to a box on a diagram.

Parent box: The box that is detailed by the child diagram.

Parent diagram: The diagram that contains the parent box.




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